22 December 2014

Think Tank: China - Frigate Sales to Taiwan ‘Brutally Interferes’ with Internal Affairs

USS Taylor (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

By: Sam LaGrone

China issued a strong statement against a planned sale of U.S. Oliver Hazard Perry frigates to Taiwan that was singed into U.S. law on Thursday.

The Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2013 — signed by President Obama on Thursday — allows up to four of the frigates to be sold to Taiwan.

The approval of the act drew accusation the sale violates China’s sovereignty as well as a 1982 understanding between the U.S. and China, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Qin Gang told reporters on Friday.

“The Chinese side is firmly opposed to the arms sales by the US to Taiwan. This position is steadfast, clear and consistent. The aforementioned act constitutes a grave breach of the spirit of the three joint communiqués between China and the US, especially that of the August 17 Communiqué, brutally interferes in China’s domestic affairs and undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests,” Qin said.

India: Small Leap for LCA (Navy) – A Giant Leap for Indian Naval Aviation

It was a defining moment when LCA (Navy) Prototype 1 (NP1), the first indigenously designed and developed 4th plus generation combat aircraft designed to operate from the decks of air-craft carriers, took-off majestically from Ski-Jump facility of Shore Based Test Facility at INS Hansa in Goa yesterday. Piloted by Commodore Jaideep Maolankar, the Chief Test Pilot of National Flight Test Centre, the aircraft had a perfect flight with results matching the predicted ones to the letter. The launch was orchestrated by the Test Director Cdr J D Raturi and Safety Pilot Capt Shivnath Dahiya supported by GpCapt Anoop Kabadwal, GpCapt RR Tyagi and Lt Cdr Vivek Pandey. The readiness and availability of aircraft for the event was made possible through the relentless effort of HAL, ARDC under the aegis of Mr P S Roy the Executive Director. 

Dr Avinash Chander, SA to RM, Secretary DDR&D DG DRDO congratulated the LCA Navy program team and said, "With today's copybook flight of LCA-Navy from the land based ski-jump facility we see our own indigenous combat aircrafts soon flying from the decks of our aircraft carriers.” Congratulating the team Dr Tamilmani, DS & DG Aeronautics, said “A complex task of Ski Jump of NP1 Executed beautifully”. 

Editorial: Time for Europe to Get Strategic in Its Arms Exports to Asia

French Rafale Fighter, winner of India's MMRCA

By Thomas Paulsen and Janka Oertel

‘It is high time that Germany and Europe strategically tackled the security policy challenges they face in the Far East.’

Asia, the world’s most dynamic economic region, is facing heightened security related tensions. China is expressing increasing confidence in its territorial disputes and is gradually expanding its influence in the South and East China Sea. Japan is attempting to free itself from the confines of its former security policy and significantly expand the scope and geographic reach of its armed forces. Throughout Asia, nations that can afford to do so are investing heavily in their military capabilities. Over the last decade, China has tripled its military spending; Indonesia has doubled its defense budget; and India has become the world’s largest importer of arms. In short, the threat of an arms race looms large over the region. The situation is sustained by the financial capabilities the region amassed through years of continued economic growth. The risk of military conflict in Asia is rising, whether unintended or because a government in the region believes a particular red line has been crossed.
The sheer size of the Asian economies and the potential disruption to vital trade routes and supply chains means that a war in Asia would be devastating for the global economy. Although Europe would be severely affected by conflict in the region, neither the EU nor individual European countries currently play a relevant role in Asian security policy. Apparently, the skirmishes taking place over Far Eastern rocks and reefs are too distant to be of any particular bearing. Instead, the EU remains focused on the pressing problems in its immediate neighborhood. Consequently, the current climate might imply that there is no role for Europe in Asian security policy. There is a consensus within the European political class that a European military presence in Asia or intervention in the region’s security policy remains out of the question. 
Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Thailand Turns to China

By Prashanth Parameswaran

With a post-coup cooling of relations with the West, Bangkok is looking to its largest trading partner.

Thailand’s ruling junta is boosting ties with China as it seeks to reverse sluggish growth in Southeast Asia’s second largest economy following a coup earlier this year that complicated its ties with the West.
On Friday, Thailand welcomed Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the most prominent foreign leader to visit the country since the military seized power on May 22. Li was to attend a two-day regional summit on the Mekong river being held in Bangkok.
Thai government spokesman Yongyuth Mayalarp said Li’s visit and meetings would be “a good opportunity for Thailand to show that our political problems are not an obstacle to trade,” highlighting that “the situation here is normal now and we are working toward a new Thai democracy.”
Though the military has succeeded in stabilizing Thailand’s economy somewhat since coming to power, economic growth has been weak thus far and these woes could extend into 2015 if troubling trends like anemic domestic consumption and private investment continue. With the U.S cutting off military assistance to Thailand, and Europe suspending trade negotiations following the coup, the government has made strengthening ties with China – already Thailand’s largest trading partner – a top priority. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Thailand’s Twelve Turbulent Months

By Mong Palatino

Democracy in Thailand took about 12 steps backwards in 2014.

Thailand is coming to the end of very difficult year, which brought violent street protests, an election boycott, martial law, a coup, media censorship, the appointment of a new military-backed government, and a royal divorce. Here, we look back at what has transpired over the past 12 months.
January: Tens of thousands of protesters flood the major intersections of Bangkok as opposition groups intensify their bid to topple the government of then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. The protest, led by former lawmaker Suthep Thaugsuban, aims to “shut down“ Bangkok for several days or until Yingluck is removed from power. Despite the planned shutdown, Bangkok is not entirely paralyzed. But the protest loudly echoes the demands of the opposition to call of the February election and instead create a so-called People’s Council to replace the government.
February: Despite the anti-government rallies and the boycott campaign of the opposition, Thailand is able to hold a “peaceful” election. But many Thais are unable to vote or are prevented from approaching polling centers because of the protests. The number of disenfranchised voters is estimated at 12 million. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

20 December 2014

AUS: Australian operations in Iraq continue to press ISIL

RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet (File Photo)

Since air operations commenced against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the militants operating in Iraq have been targeted by more than 500 coalition air strike missions including more than 180 sorties by Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornets.

Chief of Joint Operations Vice Admiral David Johnston said the Australian Air Task Group (ATG) remained a key contributor to coalition air operations in support of Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Kurdish Peshmerga operations across northern and western Iraq including the cities of Bayji, Mosul, Kirkuk, Ramadi and Sinjar.

“The ATG continues to target ISIL vehicles, logistics nodes, buildings and check-points, and fighting positions as well as providing close air support for ISF and Peshmerga forces,” he said.

AUS: Internationally Integrated

RAAF E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C Aircraft (File Photo)

One of Australia’s contributions to the Coalition air campaign against ISIL is the Air Task Group’s E-7A Early Warning and Control ‘Wedgetail’ aircraft.

Deployed on Operation OKRA, the E-7A Wedgetail aircraft missions entail controlling the ‘battle management areas’ that cover the majority of the airspace above Iraq.

Commander of Australia’s Air Task Group Air Commodore Steve Roberton praised the skills of the crews who regularly manage over 80 combat aircraft during a single mission.

“Having responsibility for the command and control of all Coalition aircraft over a very large airspace is no small undertaking,” Air Commodore Roberton said.

“The E-7A crews, their maintenance and other support staff are doing an outstanding job.”

The missions are lengthy, with an average flying time of over 13 hours.

Sri Lanka: Two Russian Naval Ships arrive at the port of Colombo

Moskva in Sevastopol bay in 2009
(Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

Two Russian Naval Ships, “Moskva” and “Cola”, arrived at the port of Colombo on 19th December 2014 for replenishment and crews. The ships belonging to the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy were ceremonially welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy in accordance with naval traditions on their arrival. 

Moskva is a missile Cruiser, which is 187 meters in length. It has a displacement of 9,270 tons and consists of a complement of 514 naval personnel. The ship is commanded by Captain 1st Rank Sergey I. Tronev. 

Cola is a replenishment vessel, which is 106.7 meters in length. It has a displacement of 7,200 tons and a crew of 47 seamen. The ship is commanded by Mr. Victor Ch. Ignatov.

India: DRDO Tests 1000 Kg Class Indigenous Guided Glide Bomb

A 1000 kg glide bomb designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was successfully tested today, in Bay of Bengal of the coast of Odisha. The bomb was dropped by an Indian Air force aircraft, The bomb, guided by its ‘on board navigation system’ glided for nearly 100 km before hitting the target with great precision. The flight of the glide bomb was monitored by radars and electro-optic systems stationed at Integrated Test Range (ITR). Multiple DRDO laboratories namely, DARE, Bangalore, ARDE, Pune and TBRL, Chandigarh, with RCI, Hyderabad as the nodal laboratory have contributed towards development of the glide bomb. The complete avionics package and navigation system has been designed and developed by RCI. 

Dr. Avinash Chander, Scientific Advisor to RM, Secretary, Deptt. of Def. R&D & DG DRDO has congratulated all the team members including the Air force team who have contributed in the success and stated, “ The nation today has capability to design, developed and launch heavy bombs for delivery up to 100 km away with high precision”. Dr. G Satheesh Reddy, Distinguish Scientist and Director RCI stated, “Country has now become self-reliant in the area of guided precision bombs”. 

India: Induction of Tejas in Indian Air Force

Indian Air Force (IAF) placed order for 20 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Tejas in Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) configuration and 20 more Aircraft in Final Operational Clearance (FOC) configuration. LCA, Tejas has already achieved IOC in December 2013 and FOC is likely to be achieved by end of 2015. The first of the IOC standard aircraft has been built and successfully completed its maiden flight on 30th September 2014. This aircraft will be handed over to IAF by March 2015 after some upgrades. The second aircraft will also be ready by March 2015 for maiden flight. The first 20 aircraft will be built by 2017-18. 

This information was given by Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar in a written reply to Shri Chand Nath and Shri Mullappally Ramachandran in Lok Sabha today.